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INDIANAPOLIS – Chandler Harnish took a few hits, threw a few incomplete passes, suffered a pick-six and faced the music.
The second-year Indianapolis Colts quarterback had a rough day in the Colts' 44-20 preseason loss to the Buffalo Bills, but took responsibility and vowed to bounce back. Harnish, a former Norwell High School standout, completed 14 of 33 passes for 109 yards and an interception in more than two quarters of plays.
“It's my Super Bowl,” Harnish said of the importance of preseason games for third-string quarterbacks. “I need to go out and perform like it's my last game every single afternoon and this is a tough one to take on the chin. But sometimes you have to have your bad days and you need to learn from it and see what you can do better next time.”
Harnish led the Colts to a field goal in his first series and went on to complete seven of his first 11 passes for 56 yards. But his day went downhill after that, with multiple series starting deep in the Colts' own territory.
Bills defensive back Jumal Rolle picked off one of Harnish's passes and returned it 17 yards for a score.
Harnish declined to use poor field position as an excuse for the offense's lack of second-half production.
“Whenever you're backed up, it's not easy, but that's our job to change field position,” Harnish said. “Give them credit for a good defensive plan, they brought a lot of pressure and we didn't make the plays, and that's on me.
“People look at the quarterback to make a play in the tough moment and I didn't get that done today,” he continued. “I have to go back to training camp and continue to work and move on and get better.”
Harnish said he hasn't had too many rough days like Sunday in his career.
“It was one of the more frustrating days I can remember,” he said. “You have to keep your head up. Guys look to the quarterback when it comes to confidence and things like that, so I have to keep pushing and fighting and learning.”
The Colts' next preseason game is on the road against the New York Giants next Sunday night.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano said he expects tight end Dwayne Allen, out with an unspecified foot injury, to be ready by the time the regular season opens.
"We're going to keep him off his feet," Pagano said. "You know he's in a boot. He's on crutches. They don't want him on his feet. They don't want any weight on his foot for a couple weeks. Nothing major, so we expect him back sooner than later."
Linebacker Justin HIckman (foot), cornerback Cassius Vaughn (wrist), linebacker Quinton Spears (hamstring) and defensive tackle Montori Hughes (stinger) suffered injuries in the game. Rookie outside linebacker Bjoern Werner (foot) was active, but did not play in the game.
Sixteen players were held out of the game due to injuries, including safety LaRon Landry and linebacker Jerrell Freeman.